The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is a living, breathing document, so it continues to be updated to remain relevant with trends and practices which we see throughout the year. One common concern which our members consistently face is whether their offers were actually presented to the seller by the listing broker.
As of January 1, 2019, Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-7 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics has been amended to allow for the buyer’s broker to ask for, and receive proof, that their offer was presented. This request needs to be in writing by the cooperating broker and, in turn, the listing broker should provide their written response that it has been presented. Please see below for the relevant language. Not providing proof could be grounds for an Ethics complaint to be filed against you, which could result in punishment pursuant to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual.
Standard of Practice 1-7 is amended as follows:
When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing. Upon the written request of a cooperating broker who submits an offer to the listing broker, the listing broker shall provide a written affirmation to the cooperating broker stating that the offer has been submitted to the seller/landlord, or a written notification that the seller/landlord has waived the obligation to have the offer presented. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or lease.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Is there a certain form that I need to submit to the listing broker asking for proof?
No. All that is required is a request in writing from the cooperating broker to the listing broker. The listing broker is then required to send back either (a) a written confirmation that it was presented or (b) a written notification that the seller/landlord has waived the obligation to have the offer presented.
- Will C.A.R. be creating a form for this?
No. There is no need. Just send something in writing asking if the offer was presented. If a response is not received, you can file a complaint. Currently an Ethics complaint can be filed. We will eventually be adding this section as a violation to our Citation program as well.
- How long does the listing broker have to respond to my request?
A timeframe is not specified within the Code of Ethics. This is going to depend upon the facts and circumstances. For example, the seller is out of the country and cannot present the offer for 5 days. The listing broker, out of courtesy, should be letting the buyer’s broker know this information but under these circumstances, NOT being able to give written confirmation that the offer was submitted would most likely NOT be a violation.
- Does this apply to a coop broker who is required to show proof that a counter offer was submitted to their buyer?
At this time, no. It only applies to the listing side. We are discussing making a recommendation to add this verbiage for consideration by NAR for future amendments.
- The Multi-board 7.0 provides a space for the seller to initial that they received the offer. Why can’t C.A.R. add this to our contract?
The seller is not under our jurisdiction. We can never force a seller to initial, or not initial. Only REALTORS® are subject to the Code of Ethics and this is a requirement of all REALTORS®.
For questions on this change or anything relating to Professional Standards or Dispute Resolution, please email Amanda Withrow, Vice President of Membership & Dispute Resolution.